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Badger v. Kelly

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

July 3, 2019



         I. Procedures for Filing Objections:

         This Recommended Disposition (Recommendation) has been sent to Judge Kristine G. Baker. Any party to this suit may file written objections with the Clerk of Court. To be considered, objections must be filed within 14 days. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection.

         If parties do not file objections, they risk waiving the right to appeal questions of fact. And, if no objections are filed, Judge Baker can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record.

         II. Background:

         Plaintiff Craytonia Badger, an Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) inmate, filed this case without the help of a lawyer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket entry #2) Mr. Badger alleges that he was injured while working on the hoe squad and claims that his injury was a result of the deliberate indifference to his safety by Defendants Foote, Cashion, and Batson. He also claims that Defendants Foote, Cashion, Batson, and Brooks provided him inadequate medical care for the injuries he sustained in the incident. Finally, he claims that Defendant Cashion had him transferred to a different unit in retaliation for his filing grievances about the incident.[1] (#2)

         Defendants Foote, Cashion, and Batson (ADC Defendants) and Defendant Brooks (Medical Defendant) all moved for summary judgment. (#99, #100) Mr. Badger responded. (#107, #116)

         III. Standard:

         Summary judgment means that the court rules in favor of a party without the need for a trial. A moving party is entitled to summary judgment if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the party on the other side of the lawsuit, shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any fact that is important to the outcome of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322B23 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 246 (1986).

         IV. Facts:

         On the morning of March 7, 2016, 52 inmates at the Wrightsville Unit, including Mr. Badger, were transported to their worksite by a tractor pulling a tool trailer and two wagons. (#105, pp. 17-20) The inmates were riding in wagons behind the tool trailer. (#105, pp. 20-22) As the tractor traveled up the side of a levee, it began to slide. (#105, pp. 25-27) The inmates were ordered to get out of the wagons and walk over the levee while inmate Clements drove the tractor over the levee.[2] (#105, p. 27) After the tractor made it over the levee, the inmates got back onto the wagons and rode to the worksite. (#105, p. 27)

         At around 10:55 a.m., the inmates got onto the wagons to return to their unit for lunch. (#105, pp. 27-28) Sergeant Laminack (no longer a named Defendant) instructed inmate Clements to keep driving over the levee with the inmates on the wagons rather than stopping for the inmates walk. (#105, p. 29) As the tractor ascended the levee, its wheels began to spin; it rolled down the embankment; and the tool trailer flipped. (#105, pp. 29-30) As the tool trailer flipped, Mr. Badger and the other inmates were thrown from the wagon. (#105, pp. 30) According to Mr. Badger, he sustained injuries to his thumb, head, neck, hip, and back in the accident. (#2, p. 8; #105, pp. 31-32) He testified that his left thumb had swelling and a small cut, but it was not bleeding. (#105, pp. 36-37, 39)

         After the accident, Sergeant Laminack called his supervisor, Defendant Batson, who, in turn, called his supervisor, Defendant Foote, to the scene. In their declarations, both Defendant Batson and Defendant Foote affirmed that none of the inmates appeared to have serious injuries. (#99-4, #99-6) Defendant Foote photographed inmates' injuries, including Mr. Badger's. (#99-6; #99-2, #105, p. 36) Warden Cashion was also notified about the accident, and he, too, went to the levee. In his declaration, he stated that he did not talk to any of the inmates but did not seeing any serious injuries. (#99-7; #105, pp. 39-40)

         Infirmary staff members were notified of the accident and, pursuant to ADC policy, waited for injured inmates to arrive at the infirmary for treatment. ADC policy prohibits infirmary staff from attending an accident scene if inmates sustain only minor injuries. (#99-4, p. 2)

         The inmates stood at the scene of the accident in two lines for almost two hours while the tractor was repaired. Once repairs were complete, the wagons were again hooked to the trailer, and the inmates rode back to the unit on the wagons. (#99-6; #105, pp. 36, 38-39) Once back at the unit, the inmates wrote witness statements, and injured inmates were taken to the infirmary. (#105, pp. 40-41)

         Mr. Badger testified that, by the time he reached the infirmary, he could barely move his thumb. (#105, p. 48) At the infirmary, he was examined by Defendant Brooks, a licensed nurse. (#2, p. 9; #102-1, p. 1) Mr. Badger told Defendant Brooks that he had injured his thumb, back, head, neck, and hip in the accident. (#105, pp. 48-51, 55) He concedes that he already had problems with his hip due to a previous injury. (#105, pp. 48-51, 55)

         According to Defendant Brooks's notes, Mr. Badger had a one-centimeter cut on his left thumb when she examined him. By the time she examined Mr. Badger, his thumb was not bleeding. (#102-1, pp. 1-2) She noted no bruising or abrasion on Mr. Badger's back or hip. A knot on Mr. Badger's head had been identified two months earlier as a lipoma. (#102-1, pp. 1-2) Defendant Brooks cleaned and bandaged Mr. Badger's thumb and gave him a five-day script for Tylenol for his hip pain. (#102-1, pp. 1-2)

         Mr. Badger was not given a lay-in[3] and was told that he could return to work. (#105, p. 42) The next day, therefore, Defendant Batson required Mr. Badger to report to work. (#105, p. 43) According to Mr. Badger, working the ...

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